Red Sox take advantage of Nathan's walks in 9th
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) A little wild streak by Texas closer Joe Nathan helped the Boston Red Sox end their four-game losing skid.
Daniel Nava and pinch hitter Jarrod Saltalamacchia drew consecutive two-out walks from Nathan in the ninth inning, then Mike Aviles blooped a tiebreaking single that lifted the Red Sox over the Rangers 2-1 Tuesday night.
The consecutive walks were certainly uncharacteristic for Nathan (1-3), who had issued only five walks in 38 1-3 innings going into the game. After retiring Cody Ross and Will Middlebrooks to start the ninth on six pitches, Nathan snapped a career-long stretch of 80 straight appearances with one or fewer walks.
"(Nathan) put it in the strike zone and got two quick outs, then all of a sudden he couldn't find the strike zone," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "Give Aviles credit, he got a good pitch, poked it over the infield and we just couldn't get to it."
The Rangers had a prime scoring opportunity in the eighth inning. Andrus beat out a single and made it to third on an unusual two-base throwing error by pitcher Vicente Padilla (4-0).
Padilla threw to first in an attempt to pick off Andrus, got the return throw from first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, then almost immediately threw back to Gonzalez, who wasn't expecting it and the ball rolled to the wall.
"We had some chances and we just didn't get the hits," Washington said.
Alfredo Aceves notched his 21st save of the season.
The Rangers had a player hit a double for the third consecutive inning in the sixth when Andrus doubled with one out. Andrus went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a slow groundout by Josh Hamilton.
Boston starter Clay Buchholz gave up only four hits in seven innings.
NOTES: Rangers pitcher Neftali Feliz, put on the 60-day DL on May 21 because of inflammation in his right elbow, started Tuesday for Round Rock against Albuquerque. Feliz threw three innings, giving up one hit and no runs while walking one and striking out three. He is expected to make one more start for Round Rock before returning to the Rangers. ... Boston LF Carl Crawford was moved down to seventh in the batting order for the game, a move manager Bobby Valentine made since Crawford had only had 14 at-bats against left-handers this season. Crawford, who spent the first 3 1/2 months of the season on the DL following surgery on his left wrist, batted second his first seven games. Crawford went 0 for 3 with a strikeout and was replaced by Nava in the bottom of the seventh.
Updated July 25, 2012